Pacific Rim washes up third as sequels dominate

per the UK Daily Guardian


Guillermo del Toro’s apocalyptic adventure can’t beat the combined might of Despicable Me and Adam Sandler sequels

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Monday 15 July 2013 07.23


Warner Bros‘ robots v monsters mash-up Pacific Rim arrived in third place at the North American box office this week on an estimated $38.3m. By most standards this would be a decent opening haul for the latest Guillermo del Toro movie. However in these days of engorged budgets and the close attention of a frantic US trade press desperate for headlines on a Sunday, it is simply not good enough.

  1. Pacific Rim
  2. Production year: 2013
  3. Country: USA
  4. Cert (UK): 12A
  5. Runtime: 131 mins
  6. Directors: Guillermo del Toro
  7. Cast: Burn Gorman, Charlie Day, Charlie Hunnam, Idris Elba, Rinko Kikuchi, Ron Perlman
  8. More on this film

Pacific Rim reportedly cost around $190m and that is a lot of lolly to recoup, especially when you add as much as $100m in global marketing spend on top of that. This was a big weekend at the box office and the potency of Del Toro’s film will have been neutered somewhat byDespicable Me 2 and the No 2 title Grown Ups 2 starring Adam Sandler.

Both the No 1 and No 2 movies are sequels boasting household names. Pacific Rim is neither: it’s hard to launch a new property with little brand awareness and a lack of A-list talent. Despite the opinion of some who say the effects are the real stars these days, you can never underestimate the allure of a celebrity.

Pacific Rim lacks one, with all respect to Charlie Hunnam, who will be familiar to US TV viewers through Sons of Anarchy, and the mesmerisingIdris Elba, a renowned TV actor on both sides of the Atlantic who you get the sense could be on the cusp of movie stardom. Maybe his lead role in the upcoming Mandela: Long Walk to Freedom, will unlock the vault.Harvey Weinstein has the movie in the US and if he believes Elba has a crack at an Oscar, the British actor could not wish for a more influential advocate.

Still, the numbers are the only story the studios care about. On that note, it’s worth considering the movie’s international performance. Pacific Rim ventured into its first territories outside North America and the results were highly encouraging. Del Toro’s tentpole came within a hair’s breadth of kicking Despicable Me 2 off its perch, grossing an estimated $53m from a relatively light footprint of 38 markets, compared to the second weekend heroics of Despicable Me 2 on $55.5m.

Top brass at Warner Bros and their outgoing financing and production partner Legendary Entertainment will take heart from this. Legendary financed most of the movie so we’re not talking about a hit to the studio that will be anything like as severe as the one Disney is preparing itself for with The Lone Ranger. It’s possible Pacific Rim will become an international hit.

The 72% approval rating on the review aggregator Rotten Tomatoes could bode well for North America too if word of mouth gets out and the movie sticks around for a few weeks.

The aforementioned Harvey Weinstein released the acclaimed dramaFruitvale Station in seven US theatres at the weekend and it grossed an excellent $377,000. Weinstein snapped up the movie following its world premiere at Sundance last January and by eerie coincidence its themes echo those of the Trayvon Martin case that has gripped the US in recent weeks and concluded on Saturday. That could not have been Weinstein’s plan when he plotted the release date months ago, but the zeitgeist could fuel further admissions. This quietly devastating movie will play a part in awards season.

North American Top 10, 12-14 July

1. Despicable Me 2, $44.8m. Total: $229.2m

2. Grown Ups 2, $42.5m

3. Pacific Rim, $38.3m

4. The Heat, $14m. Total: $112.4m

5. The Lone Ranger, $11.1m. Total: $71.1m

6. Monsters University, $10.6m. Total: $237.8m

7. World War Z, $9.4m. Total: $177.1m

8. White House Down, $6.2m. Total: $62.9m

9. Kevin Hart: Let Me Explain, $5m. Total: $26.4m

10. Man Of Steel, $4.8m. Total: $280.9m


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